Until recently, I have been obsessed with the latest anti-aging crèmes and remedies that stave off the effects of time. This unhealthy fixation began at age 8, when I looked at myself in the mirror and was convinced that in order to be beautiful I needed to look perfect; and to look perfect was to be perfect. I was terrified of aging because of the media hammering it into our minds that aging is something that we should fight against. I was and still am constantly exposed to the latest anti-aging ads that read “Stay young and beautiful.” Finally it hit me… what the hell do they mean by stay young and beautiful?
Let’s face the truth-we are always aging. From the time we are born we are aging. Time marches on and we march with it. The media relentlessly hammers it into our heads that the only way that we will be beautiful is by looking forever young. The incessant drum beat is almost always directed towards women (who are sensitive and complex beings). Eternal youth is an impossible feat to accomplish but none the less society follows what media shows, and corporations cash in on our media created insecurities.
The media shows us that we need to fight aging in order to stay beautiful. It affects us even down to the way we view each other. How often do you hear “She used to be beautiful when she was young,” or, “Oh she looks old for her age. Yeah…she really let herself go.”
So because we have it hammered into our heads, if you want to be beautiful, you have to look young, then we automatically say to ourselves, “Oh my goodness, I don’t want to age.” So we fight and fight to stay “young and beautiful,” buying the latest products that are beautifully displayed on the counters beside gorgeous photo-shopped models, longing to look like the unattainable standards that are shown to us.
This affects not only women, but also the way men view us. Youth equates to beauty, so when one gets old, so many want to upgrade to a “newer model.” This honestly saddens me.
A sixty-year-old woman is just as gorgeous as a twenty-year-old woman. She is timelessly beautiful and vibrant. No, she doesn’t look like a twenty year old anymore, because she isn’t twenty, she’s sixty. The fact that she has had the opportunity to live to be sixty, doesn’t make her any less beautiful than the twenty-year-old.